Cortez joined the Seahawks as the third pick in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft, and his impact as a defensive tackle was quickly felt around the league, especially by opposing quarterbacks.
Selected to the Pro Bowl in only his second season, Kennedy would go on to rack up 14 quarterback sacks in 1992 and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the AP.
Kennedy played 11 seasons with the Seahawks (1990-2000), and he compiled numerous NFL honors & awards over that span: eight Pro Bowl appearances (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999), three-time First-Team All-Pro (1992, 1993, 1994), named to the NFL 1990’s All-Decade Team, Steve Largent Award (1996). He was also a member of the Seahawks 35th Anniversary Team in 2010.
His #96 jersey was retired in 2012, joining Steve Largent (#80) as the only player to have his number retired by the Seahawks; the #12 was retired to honor Seahawks fans.
He was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012, becoming the second player in the Hall, along with Steve Largent, to have played their entire career with the Seahawks.
Kennedy died on May 23, 2017, in Orlando, Florida. He was 48.